The three 2017 Heisman finalists met with the assembled media today at the Marriott Marquis in mid-town Manhattan. Here are some excerpts from the press conference and some photos of the finalists on their first day in New York City.
On how he used his first Heisman vote
On Mayfield and Love
“Baker had a tremendous season. He came back from last year and seemed like he doubled everything. I just found out Bryce had a high ankle sprain the last five games. He was putting up great numbers, so hats off to Bryce, too. Two great guys.
On his goal for this year
On his responsibilities as a Heisman winner
The biggest responsibility is to be humble. Coming off a Heisman Trophy season, actually winning it, and being so young, you have to be humble. You can’t get on your high horse and think you’re better than everyone. You’ve got to stay humble and just remain the same. I realized that after winning it.
On becoming a finalist
On what he learned backing up former Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey, the 2015 Heisman runner up
“There’s so many different things I’ve learned from Christian, so many different things here and there that I learned that built me into a better player. I’m thankful for all of that. Even in high school, having to sit behind Petey, Devante, all them boys….it was another blessing in disguise, too. I kind of knew what to expect.
“In terms of myself, I’d say no. I kind of knew going in that I had a lot to work on. I knew what to expect and knew I’d be able to contribute. I didn’t know necessarily where. I just wanted to contribute in any way that I could.
On why he picked Stanford
On what his experience has been like, coming to New York
“I’m just blessed. It’s been such a journey. It’s just been an amazing experience. I’m happy to be a representative of North Carolina, Wake Forest, Stanford University and all the teammates I’ve played with, all the coaches and staffs I’ve been with, I’m thankful for all of them.
On whether the Heisman was a goal heading into the season
“I just wanted to be the best, more so than anything. The best at my position, the best in the country. I just wanted to be the best I could be for my teammates. Ultimately, it’s led to this point and now I’m able to represent my teammates, my coaches, my strength staff — everyone involved, really — and I’m thankful for it.
On returning to New York again as a finalist
“For me, it’s just as special as last year. Coming here is an honor. Just being around these other players and being around the former winners…it’s an unbelievable experience. So for me, it’s just as special as last year.
On making the playoffs and having a shot at the national title
“I’m not an expert here, don’t get that confused. I told him to try to enjoy it, that it’s a special event no matter who wins.
On how special the Heisman is…
On the lessons he’s learned this year
“I could state the obvious, that there’s always eyes on me, things like that. No matter what, whatever people say, I have a strong support group. I need to lean on them, not do it on my own, both on and off the field. I’m proud of who I am, but I’m also proud to be able to learn and grow from my mistakes.
On the prospect of winning the Heisman
“You dream of it growing up. You dream of coming to New York and holding the Heisman Trophy, but it being a reality is completely different. There’s been a lot of twists and turns, ups and downs, but for me, I wouldn’t draw it up any differently. It’s made me who I am and I’m proud to be right here, right now. The best is yet to come for me.”